Personality: Michael R. Jackson

Spotlight on Richmond First Club president

10/17/2014, 6 a.m.
Michael R. Jackson, a forensic accountant, is the president of the Richmond First Club and has been involved with the ...
Michael R. Jackson

Three P’s play important roles in Michael R. Jackson’s life.

“Identify your passion, know your purpose and keep the proper perspective.”

That’s how Mr. Jackson, president of the Richmond First Club, steers his life.

The forensic accountant has been involved with the nonprofit since 2011. The organization, founded in 1919, seeks to be “the leading civic organization to conduct research into major issues and policies that affect the Richmond metropolitan area,” according to its website.

Mr. Jackson has undertaken increasing responsibility with the organization, starting with his election as treasurer in 2012. In September, he was elected to a second term as president.

The club’s recent guest speakers have included a bevy of state and local officials focusing on everything from government and schools to transportation and crime.

Mr. Jackson said the group’s main goal is to build bridges between current and future leaders. “It doesn’t have to be a formal passing of the baton,” he said.

“At any given club meeting, we have 10 to 15 dynamic college students. Just by being around these experienced leaders, these young people gain so much.”

Another big item on the club’s agenda is nonpartisan redistricting. The group seeks to inform the public about the redistricting process.

Last week, a federal court panel found that the Republican-controlled General Assembly had illegally packed Democratic-leaning black voters into Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District represented by Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott. The overload reduces the influence of black voters on congressional elections in adjacent districts.

“There are many of these stacked districts where people don’t have a real choice,” Mr. Jackson said.

Next month on Election Day, the club will have volunteers handing out brochures to voters, informing them about redistricting.

“We need a groundswell from the people,” he said.

Mr. Jackson said he finds Richmond to be a great place because of its location and quality of life.

“You can just as easily visit the beach as the mountains,” he said.

People also are willing to accept transplants to the area, the Indianapolis native observed.

He said the Richmond area’s “movers and shakers” have welcomed him.

“And that’s not always the case everywhere,” he said. “I’ve had only positive experiences.”

Meet this week’s Personality, Michael R. Jackson:

Date and place of birth: July 1 in Indianapolis.

Current home: North Chesterfield.     

Alma mater: North Carolina Central University, bachelor’s of business administration in accounting.

Family: Wife, Vera; son, Michael III, 11; and daughter, Jasmine, 9.

When and how I got involved with Richmond First Club: In 2011, I was invited to a Wednesday luncheon by a good friend, Rayford Harris Jr., and had such a great experience that I joined the very next month.

When elected and length of term: 2014, elected as president for a one-year term.

Why I wanted to serve as president: I am truly passionate about the unique opportunity presented to RFC to engage former, current and future leaders of the Richmond region in productive conversations about relevant issues affecting our community.

Richmond First Club’s mission: To be the leading civic organization to conduct research into major issues and policies that affect the Metropolitan Richmond area; to provide a public forum for discussion; to raise public awareness; and to advocate specific solutions.